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Politics & Government

Gay rights measure rejected in ND Senate

The state Senate has rejected a measure that would have added “sexual orientation” to the state’s anti-discrimination statute.

Before the bill was voted down, Senators rejected an amendment to the bill – which would have had a statement about North Dakota not supporting discrimination against gays, lesbians, trans-gender people or bi-sexual people. However, there would be no recourse for people who lost jobs or housing based on sexual orientation.

"If you advocate for the members of the gay and lesbian community, and you don't support this amendment, you just don't know your history," said Sen. David Hogue (R-Minot), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Social change in this country happens in fits and starts. You don't get to come into this chamber and hit your home run on the social change that you want. To suggest otherwise is just pandering to your base."

The amendment was rejected 27-20. And the Senate immediately started debating the original bill.

"This is a call for equal treatment, not a call for preferential treatment," said Sen. John Warner (D-Ryder), one of the bill's sponsors. "I would hope we would use this as a model for putting our best face to the world."

Senators voted down the bill 26 to 21. Two years ago, the Senate approved the measure -- but it failed in the House.

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